Ozone and her team examined
each of Ghost’s 86 panels, researched various materials, created test
panels and discussed treatment options with Whiteread. The team decided
to apply a layer of Jesmonite—a water-based adhesive that she had used
in other works—to the back of the original panels to strengthen them.
But doing this meant losing Whiteread’s original markings. Ozone found a
creative way to reintroduce the artist’s handwriting by asking
Whiteread to write out a series of numbers and letters so vinyl versions
could be printed and attached to the panels. They also created a
“shadow” aluminium armature to complement the existing armature, which
is made of standard shelving brackets, using a “Lego-like” framing
system called 80/20. Unlike Whiteread, who screwed the plaster panels
directly into the armature, Ozone devised a hanging system that avoided
screwing anything into the plaster.
never thought Ghost would last as long as it has, Donovan says. “It was
done in a very experimental way. It’s a testament to how it was made
that the piece hasn’t needed treatment until now,” she says. Ozone
agrees: “We have all come away with a tremendous amount of respect for
her working method, attention to detail and knowledge of materials.”
Ozone had hoped to streamline the process of installing and
deinstalling Ghost, the treatment only managed to shave four days off
the process, which ended up taking two weeks. Donovan is more
philosophical about the time needed to install Ghost. “Some works go up
on a nail on the wall, while others take two weeks. Whiteread’s work
addresses time, so the fact that time is built into the piece itself is
appropriate,” she says.
To read the full article, visit The Art Newspaper, here. The National Gallery of Art's catalog page for this work can be found here. The press release for the Whiteread exhibition can be found here. The Gallery also has a webpage dedicated to documentary materials related to this artwork, here. A video of the artist discussing this work is available on the Gallery's YouTube page, here.